My place is not the sky. It’s in the compost
with these mice, their winter nest forked open
by my desire for rot. Best-laid plans.
On an airplane once, the person next to me
used that phrase as though it meant
everything works out for those who plan. I don’t
believe in fate unless I’m at its mercy.
Have you ever held a living thing
in one hand? I mean completely. A hen
will shake a rodent dead, then swallow it whole.
Close your palm around a newborn mouse.
You’ll feel it wriggle, but the hand looks like
an empty fist.
Kathryn Smith is the author of the poetry collection Book of Exodus (Scablands Books) and the forthcoming chapbook Chosen Companions of the Goblin, winner of the 2018 Open Country Press Chapbook Contest. Her poems have been published in Poetry Northwest, Mid-American Review, Redivider, Bellingham Review, The Journal, and elsewhere, and have earned an Allied Arts Foundation Award, a Spokane Arts Grant Award, and a Pushcart special mention. She also makes collage and mixed media art using discarded books and embroidery. Originally from Port Angeles, Washington, she now lives in Spokane.